Wednesday, March 30, 2011

German Expressionism + Rhine River Cuisine

Now Showing
at MoMA
German Expressionism:
The Graphic Impulse
Erich Heckel (German, 1883-1970) 
Portrait of a Man 
composition: 18 3/16 x 12 3/4" (46.2 x 32.4 cm); 
sheet (irreg.): 24 1/4 x 20" (61.6 x 50.8 cm) 
The essence of German Expressionism was to show real life emotions.
Edvard Munch's
"The Scream", 1893
One of the fathers of emotion based art, and a major influence on the German expressionist movement was the Norwegian artist, Edvard Munch. He summed up expressionism in this statement:
Otto Dix (German, 1891-1969) 
Café Couple 
Watercolor and pencil on paper 
20 x 16 1/8" (50.8 x 41 cm) 
Since German Expressionism shows real life, if there is a down side to German Expressionist's art it came from the age of anxiety in which these artists worked. The movement flourished from 1905 until 1945, before and during World Wars I and II. These were times when pain, suffering and fear were the preeminent emotions.
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As a result of the world wars - death, maimed bodies, missing limbs, famine and disease from inadequate medical care were all a part of life in every German household. Thus, many of the images in German expressionistic art are "difficult" to view. A large part of the movement evolved into a protest against the horrors of war. 
Egon Schiele (Austrian, 1890-1918) 
Standing Male Nude with Arm Raised, Back View 
Watercolor and charcoal on paper 
17 5/8 x 12 3/8" (44.8 x 31.4 cm)

There are the occasional colorful paintings from artist Franz Marc, the free and extremely intimate depictions of lovers by artist Egon Schiele and the hectic pace of the people in the street by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. 
"They (street scene paintings) originated in the years 1911-14, in one of the loneliest times of my life, during which an agonizing restlessness drove me out onto the streets day and night, which were filled with people and cars." - Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
German expressionistic art was created from the artists' point of view and their reaction to the world they were experiencing. The viewer of this art sees and feels the world through their eyes. 

Emil Nolde 
(German, 1867-1956) 

Museum of Modern Art
German Expressionism:
The Graphic Impulse
March 27–July 11, 2011
Virtually every artist in Germany at the time was inclined to work with printmaking as you will see, since this show at MoMA is 99% prints and an occasional painting shown in the large exhibition space on the 6th floor. The thematic categories for the prints in the exhibition are: 1: War; 2: Postwar Politics; 3: Death; 4: Religion; 5: Sex; 6: City Life; 7: Primitivism; 8: Fantasy; 9: Literary Subjects; 10: Nature; 11: Nudes; 12: Dance & Leisure; and 13: Portraits - all filled with primal emotions.

Max Beckmann (German, 1884-1950) 
Group Portrait, Eden Bar 
composition (irreg.): 19 1/2 x 19 7/16" (49.5 x 49.3 cm); 
sheet: 23 5/8 x 27 11/16" (60 x 70.3 cm) 

Max Beckmann (German, 1884-1950) 
Self-Portrait in Bowler Hat 
(1921, published not before 1922) 
plate: 12 11/16 x 9 3/4" (32.3 x 24.8 cm); 
sheet: 21 1/8 x 16 1/2" (53.7 x 41.9 cm) 
Otto Dix (German, 1891-1969) 
composition (irreg.): 19 1/16 x 14 1/2" (48.4 x 36.8 cm);
sheet (irreg.): 23 5/8 x 18 5/16" (60 x 46.5 cm) 

BIO: Otto Dix was a painter, print maker and watercolorist. Known especially for his caustic portraits of postwar German society. Studied in Dresden from 1910 to 1914, where he encountered art of the Brücke and began painting in a colorful, emotionally exaggerated and gestural style. Profoundly influenced by writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, which he carried into war as an enthusiastic volunteer in 1914. Saw action as an artillery gunner; wounded multiple times and decorated with Iron Cross, Second Class. Served entire war, through 1918; emerged with scathing view of mankind. Settled in Dresden in 1919, where he made contact with socialist Expressionist groups; was also briefly involved with Dada, exhibiting works at First International Dada Fair in 1920. Created several monumental works chronicling the brutality of war, including a portfolio of fifty shockingly graphic etchings, The War (published 1924 and in this exhibition). Also focused on postwar decadence, depicting war profiteers, prostitutes and crippled veterans. Was tutored in printmaking by Conrad Felixmüller in Dresden in 1919/20, and eventually made 350 different prints, typically exploiting the starkness of black and white. Approximately one-third were created during his sharpest years between 1919 and 1924; others mostly date from the 1930s to the 1960s, when his outlook had mellowed somewhat. Stripped of honors and teaching position in 1933 by Nazis, who also seized 260 works, some of which were destroyed.  


Franz Marc (German, 1880-1916) 
Riding School After Ridinger 
Composition: 10 9/16 x 11 3/4" (26.9 x 29.8 cm); 
sheet: 12 13/16 x 14 3/4" (32.5 x 37.5 cm) 

Emil Nolde (German, 1867-1956) 
Young Couple 
composition: 24 1/2 x 19 13/16" (62.2 x 50.3 cm); 
sheet (irreg.): 27 3/16 x 22 1/2" (69 x 57.1 cm

Max Pechstein (German, 1881-1955) 
Dancer in the Mirror 
composition: 19 7/16 x 15 3/4" (49.4 x 40 cm);
 sheet (irreg.): 31 11/16 x 22 13/16" (80.5 x 58 cm) 

Emil Nolde (German, 1867-1956) 
Sheet: 23 5/8 x 29 15/16" (60 x 76 cm); 
Composition: 21 x 27 1/16" (53.3 x 68.8 cm)

Erich Heckel (German, 1883-1970) 
(1911), dated 1910 
composition: 9 3/4 x 7 3/8" (24.7 x 18.8 cm); 
sheet: 16 5/8 x 11 7/8" (42.3 x 30.2 cm) 

Oskar Kokoschka (Austrian, 1886-1980) 
Hans Tietze and Erica Tietze-Conrat 
Oil on canvas 
30 1/8 x 53 5/8" (76.5 x 136.2 cm) 
BIO: Oskar Kokoschka was a painter, print maker and dramatist. Performance of his early Expressionist play, Murderer, Hope of Women, at the 1909 Kunstschau exhibition scandalized Vienna. Had been promoted early on by the Wiener Werkstätte, which published his fairy tale Die träumenden Knaben (The Dreaming Boys) in 1908, the first of several books he wrote and illustrated. But friendship with architect and critic Adolf Loos decisively influenced his turn away from decorative influences, toward an expressive, gestural style of painting in portraits and other figurative scenes. From 1910, was in contact with Expressionist circles in Berlin, including Herwarth Walden, who reproduced many of Kokoschka's drawings and texts in his journal Der Sturm. Volunteered for Austrian army in World War I; seriously wounded in 1915. From 1916 to 1931, was supported by Paul Cassirer. Moved to Dresden in 1917 and taught at the art academy there from 1919 until 1923. Later resettled in Vienna, where he lived from 1931 to 1934. Labeled a “degenerate” artist by the Nazis, who confiscated 417 of his works. To avoid Nazis, fled to Prague (1934–38), then London (1938–53). Spent final years, from 1953 to 1980, in Switzerland. Ultimately made more than 560 prints, approximately one-third in the 1910s and 1920s. Most are lithographic or photo-lithographic portraits or book illustrations, which, like his drawings, feature a nervous, electrically charged style. 
Jeanne Mammen (German, 1890-1976) 
Carnival in Berlin N III 
(c. 1930) 
Watercolor and pencil on paper 
23 5/8 x 18 5/8" (60 x 47.3 cm) 

Erich Heckel (German, 1883-1970) 
Fränzi Reclining 
composition (irreg.): 8 15/16 x 16 1/2" (22.7 x 41.9 cm);
sheet (irreg.): 14 x 21 7/8" (35.6 x 55.5 cm) 
Sources for this article: 
Museum of Modern Art press release,,,


Vasily Kandinsky (French, born Russia. 1866-1944)

The Illustrated Book
Klänge (Sounds)

Sounds by Vasily Kandinsky. (1913). Illustrated book with fifty-six woodcuts, page (each): 11 1/16 x 10 7/8" (28.1 x 27.7 cm); overall: 11 1/4 x 11 1/4" (28.5 x 28.5 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, laid (Van Gelder Zonen). Publisher: R. Piper & Co., Munich. Edition: Book: 300 (signed and numbered); 45 h.c. The Louis E. Stern Collection. © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Klänge is one of three major publications by Kandinsky that appeared shortly before World War I, alongside Über die Geistige in der Kunst (Concerning the Spiritual in Art) and the Blaue Reiter almanac, which he edited with one of the group's co-founders, Franz Marc. Fearing poor sales, Munich-based Reinhard Piper only reluctantly published Klänge, and Kandinsky had to guarantee the production costs. More than two years after its release, Klänge had sold fewer than 120 copies. The planned Russian version never materialized. The publication was nevertheless influential on other avant-garde artists, and Futurists in Russia and Dadaists in Zurich recited and published some of the poems.

for this book.

German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse
By Starr Figura, With essays by Starr Figura and Peter Jelavich and contributions by Heather Hess and Iris Schmeisser

This volume showcases The Museum of Modern Art’s remarkable holdings of German Expressionist prints along with a careful selection of drawings, paintings, and sculptures from the collection. More than 250 works by some thirty artists, including Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, Vasily Kandinsky, and Oskar Kokoschka, are accompanied by essays by Starr Figura, Associate Curator at the Museum, and Peter Jelavich, Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University, that discuss the centrality of printmaking in German Expressionism and describe the movement’s sociocultural backdrop.  
Item# 795  $60.00

Inspired by the Rhine River Valley

Prepare meal & pretend you are dining in a
beautiful restaurant overlooking the Rhine.

6 salmon steaks
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups melted butter

Combine vinegar, salt and four cups of water in a high walled skillet or fish poacher. Bring liquids to a boil. Add salmon, reduce the heat and simmer for 12 minutes. Drain salmon and serve with melted butter. Exact time or even a little less is important. Serves 6.

German Potato Salad
  • 9 potatoes, peeled
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 30 minutes. Drain, cool and slice thin.
  2. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside, reserving drippings.
  3. Saute onions in bacon drippings until they are golden-brown.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, and pepper. Add to the sauteed onions and cook and stir until bubbly, then remove from heat. Stir in water and vinegar, then return to the stove and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one minute. Carefully stir bacon and sliced potatoes into the vinegar/water mixture, stirring gently until potatoes are heated through.
Salad Greens
Oil & Vinegar Dressing: 3 parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 part vinegar, squeeze of lemon juice, grind of salt and grind of pepper.

Serve with a white Riesling:
Wegeler Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Spatl vintage (2002 best year lately but all years are good).

Recipes: salmon / an original family recipe; potato salad from 

Until later,

ARTSnFOOD, All rights reserved. Concept & Original Text © Copyright 2011 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

Now, a message from: eWaterways' - The Premicon Queen / Luxury Rhine River Cruises. To inquire about ARTSnFOOD blog sponsorship call 201-653-5010 - ask for Jack.

The Premicon Queen truly is a floating grand hotel, where exceptional service is the ultimate goal. A glass-enclosed gourmet restaurant, elegant panoramic lounge, first class on-board entertainment, a Viennese cafe, an expansive sundeck and a putting green are just some of the ship's plentiful amenities. Accommodation is provided in a range of spacious suites, allowing you to enjoy river cruising in ultimate comfort. **Please note that this is a German operated vessel and the principal language spoken on board is therefore German.

For more information
talk to our agents toll free
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Saturday, March 26, 2011

BUT...Is it ART? Dennis Oppenheim + Original Recipe Chicken

"It's not what you 
look at that matters, 
it's what you see." 
- Henry David Thoreau

An OPINION on the phrase "But... is it ART?" 

I have been fascinated for many years by the question everyone asks,"But... is it ART?" I look at a large volume of visual art and a percentage of what I see, does not appeal to me, but I STILL think of it as ART. Some of the art I enjoy, I soon read that a professional critic does not share my opinion. Still, most professionals in the art world would never say ART - created by a serious artist - is NOT art. It simply art which does not connect with them.

Premise: There are hobbyists and non-committed practitioners whom I contrast with the people who consider themselves artists, no matter how they earn their living. Most of these artists produce their art with the intent of their work being exposed to an audience. (There are exceptions!) For this article, the work of this latter group is what I call "art".

First consideration: All art is conceptual to some degree. The Magritte painting shown is titled: "This is not a pipe." No, it is really paint on a canvas stretched over a wood frame or, here, a digital image on your screen - but our brain says we are looking at a "pipe"! Thus all pictures are a mental connection to reality, they are conceptual.)

Second consideration: Art can be enjoyed on a technical level for its execution and technique without consideration of content. (ie: A beautifully painted watercolor.)

Art is logically evaluated by concept and execution (either/or or combined).

Third consideration: "The felt content." The very best art has an emotional element to it, which is difficult to evaluate or express in words, but you feel it!

Throughout history, great art has risen to the top and lesser art has dropped away through the filter of time. Ultimately "people of influence within the art world" must recognize and "anoint" an artist or a work as being "worthy, respectable or outstanding" for the art to become a noted part of art history and ultimately appreciated by a majority of the art loving audience.

Paul McCartney during
his most recent tour.

Any person's creation can miss in making a connection. We all understand this concept, but it is often difficult to analyze or know why the art does not connect. In the last issue I posted a Paul McCartney video for his song "Young Boy". McCartney has written great songs throughout his career, but only the songs he recorded during the time he flourished with the Beatles or with Wings or the songs he wrote for movies seem to resonate with the public. His song, "Young Boy" is fine, as far as a rock song goes, but for McCartney that song would not get the same reaction at a concert as would a Beatles' song.

If everything produced by "serious artists" is ART, how does some ART get noticed?  During the last years of the 20th century, as the color field painters, conceptual artists and POP artists grew older, the word on the street was: "Unless you are Young British Artist, a practitioner of art does not actually become "AN ARTIST" until he or she was in their mid-to-late 30s. After they have lived and gained life's experience, but also  after they had moved through the early, superficial phases of their art practice.
SVA has an outstanding
Graduate School
in Fine Arts

Then the 21st century dawned and the mantra changed overnight back to "Don't show any artist over 30 years old, unless they are already famous!" Media and content became king and collectors and gallerist started being obsessed with youth and finding young emerging artists or students in graduate art schools they could embrace. To that mix add a German artist component, a Cuban artist component, a Japanese artist component and a Chinese artist component - all while the art world boomed during the "Goldilocks era" of Wall Street. Now, ten years into the new millennium, art sales followed Wall Street down and are just starting to recover, many galleries have closed or downsized. But the excitement by collectors for this new era of contemporary art termed "Pluralism" seems as strong as ever. Also the highest end of secondary art sales at the auction houses have made a come back in an unbelievably strong way. (Secondary art sales are collectors or galleries selling their holdings for themselves, no proceeds go to the artist.) 

There are no rules in the Art World. This lack of rules is what makes Art constantly fresh, and great, and so difficult to predict its next direction. Although 
any multi-billion dollar business market, pared with human nature, demands some analysis and understanding of the dynamics of how the industry works. To borrow a line from Winston Churchill, the internal workings of the Art World "is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma."  I certainly haven't figured it out, but I do understand the exterior of the industry. 

The mystery of the art world revealed - ooh - 
Get ready and read carefully!  Unfortunately the answer is a cliché. "He who has the GOLD sets the RULES."

Gabriel Kuri represented
by Franco Noero, Turin
and Esther Schipper
Berlin - Armory Show 2011

Yes, it's the same power dynamic as most institutions and markets. 

In the context of the art world the above phrase means:
- if you own a gallery, know who the collectors are and the collectors trust your opinion and buy artist's work based on your recommendation, then THE GALLERY has the gold and sets the rules. 
- If you are a seasoned collector who has learned the ropes and now knows what direction you want to go with your collection, then THE COLLECTOR has the gold and sets the rules. 
- If you are an art auction house, know "who" owns the great art of the world and "who" has been wanting to buy that art, then THE AUCTION HOUSE has the gold and they set the rules. 
- If you are an "art star" artist, who is so well loved you can sneeze on a tissue, frame it, and sell it for a fortune, then THE ARTIST has the gold and sets the rules. 

Summary: "BUT... IS IT ART?"
All art created by a sincere artist trying to make a statement is indeed ART.

Technically beautiful and wonderfully executed drawings, paintings and sculpture are seldom questioned as being art, but they can be dismissed for not having enough or any real content or emotion. 

Since there are no rules in art, the viewer doesn't have to like any work of art, no matter what critic complimented it or what gallery or museum is showing it. We should all simply look for art we do like. BUT, if the artwork you have questioned has gotten into your head and you keep asking,"Yes, but is it art?". There is probably an art purchase in your future.  

Connected galleries, art-star artists, established auction houses and knowledgeable collectors all have the potential to take the lead in Art World negotiations, depending on who has the most valuable asset! 

But... Is it ART? Only time will tell. 
Dennis Oppenheim 

The artist, Dennis Oppenheim, was one of the most important figures working in land art and public art. Before he passed away in 2007 he was interviewed in this 13 minute video. He shows and discusses his projects and at the end he discusses the discomfort level artists experience. Question by Robert Knafo: "Do you have to refrain from taking too many chances to get the (public art) commission?" Dennis: "You can't understand that enough.... Being an artist is already uncomfortable.... You are used to discomfort and being involved in things you don't fully grasp.... How much can you know about what you are doing? It's never enough. So (as an artist) I am already so used operating with discomfort, I would not know what it's like, otherwise. I really don't how you make art with a full grasp and comfort level. Where you know what you're occupying - I just don't know what that would be like!" (video courtesy of NewArtTV, Robert Knafo producer)

There is a rumor on the internet that the secret formula for KFC's 11 herbs and spices was accidentally discovered. Doubtful, but it has created huge publicity for the fast food chain and their "original recipe"! 
Below is the recipe if you want to try it. Many will enjoy the fun of trying to recreate the original recipe. I say if you just want to eat KFC, go to your local outlet and buy it - the clean up is SO much easier.
Is this the secret formula?

    • The 11 Herbs and Spices:
      • 1 tsp ground oregano
      • 1 tsp chili powder
      • 1 tsp dried basil
      • 1 tsp dried marjoram
      • 1 tsp pepper
      • 2 tsp salt
      • 2 tbsp paprika
      • 1 tsp onion salt
      • 1 tsp garlic powder
      • 2 tbsp powdered tomato soup mix
      • 2 tbsp Accent
      • ----------------------
      • 1 chicken cut into frying pieces or a package of thighs with skin.
      • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour (150 grams)
      • 1 3/4 oz. of secret herbs and spices mixture (50 grams) 
      • 2 well beaten eggs mixed with buttermilk
      • vegetable oil
      • ----------------------
      • Marinate chicken in buttermilk and egg mixture for 3 hours.
      • Mix all dry ingredients together.
      • remove chicken from beaten egg & buttermilk
      • Roll in spice & flour mixture
      • Fry in pressure cooker made for oil cooking for 10 minutes. With non-oil based pressure cookers, you will ruin the seal. Look for a (oil tolerant model) "Fagor" pressure fryer. Better yet if you find an original KFC pressure cooker in an antique shop. The earlier franchises were sent these stovetop models for cooking chicken.
      • OR cook on the stove top in a deep frying pan in 1/4 - 1/2" of oil. Now fry the pieces over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, turning often. Please take care to cover the lid of the frying pan to get the soft original crust results. When both sides are fried golden brown remove from fire. Drain on a cooling rack over paper towels and serve hot.
      • (This recipe is for emulating the original KFC recipe, it is untested, by me - so go online and check several other options too. The 11 herbs and spices is the NEWS here and what KFC keeps locked away. I will test this reciepe also and let you know what I think.) 

    Until later,

    ARTSnFOOD, All rights reserved. Concept & Original Text © Copyright 2011 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.